Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva’s New Year Greetings

But how can we truly receive all these heavenly blessings? Well, we must remember the condition found in Matthew 6:33 (NKJV): “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God gives us the very simple formula. If we decide to seek first His Kingdom, which means making Him our first and highest priority, we are on the right path towards experiencing an open heaven in our life as well in the life of our loved ones. We must never forget the truth that our Almighty Father is a generous God whose desire is to bless us spiritually, physically, mentally and even financially!

Hence, I invite you to respond to the challenge to believe in His power to give us all that we need. John 16:23b-24 (NKJV) says, “…Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Our Lord Jesus Himself issued this challenge to His first disciples, and it is also passed onto us, born again believers. As children of God, we are entitled to God’s wondrous blessings in Christ Jesus, and we can claim them by activating our faith through earnest and unrelenting prayer.

Brothers and sisters, this 2015, let us take hold of His promise, remember His condition and respond to His challenge so that we might continue to experience His miraculous move in our life.

Again, an exceedingly victorious, blessed and glorious New Year to all of you!

To God be all the glory, honor and praise!

Savior of the World

On that still and silent night, our Savior Jesus Christ came near to this fallen humanity to lovingly whisper this timeless truth, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life” (John 3:16 MSG).

A whole and lasting life… This is what our Savior came for – so that we might experience the life which God has destined for each one of us. A life that is not ruled by sin that leads to danger and, ultimately, to eternal separation from Him. By drawing near to us, He has given us the real antidote to hopelessness and despair. And in His life, death and resurrection, He has given new meaning to this once pointless existence.

Hence, the invitation is clear for all of us – we are lovingly urged to entrust our life to Him who became willing to be homeless so that He might become our shelter…our refuge…our home.

Will you choose to believe in the one true Savior of the world?

This is the perfect time. Put your faith in Jesus Christ! And forever, stay safe in the shelter of His loving arms.

A life in Christ

God looked at sinful man and pitied him. Instead of creating a new earth with a new race of people to replace the humanity He did not need, He forsook the splendor of the heavens and came to us in the form of a helpless baby for the express purpose of suffering for us and dying for us. And yet our Heavenly Father sent His only Begotten Son to pay a debt He did not owe, that the debt of misery here on earth and in eternity we owe to sin, that we can never pay, may be paid in full. As Romans 5:8 states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

How then should we respond to this revelation of God’s undeserved and incomprehensible love for humanity? The answer is simple yet profound: we must put our faith in Him. In Him, we find the true meaning of this gift of life given to us by the Father. For only in entrusting our entire beings into His Hands can we attain the abundant and eternal life in Christ.

With this abundant life, let us then seize every moment! We are called, not to waste time on worldly pleasures that carry no eternal significance, but to grab hold of every one of them and spend them in knowing, loving and serving our Loving God. In turn, with the life we live in Christ, we become gifts of joy that the people surrounding us partake and share.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we joyfully celebrate this wonderful season, let us embrace the true meaning of the life that we have received in Christ Jesus. Let us look at the wonder of the manger and see the birth of the Messiah as the supreme expression of grace by the Holy God towards us, sinners. From there, let us look further on and appreciate His passion as He spent His life and went through the most horrible and barbaric death so that He can complete the plan of redemption for us.

With this perspective, we can now look back on this year that is soon to pass with full appreciation of all its blessings and challenges. In the same way, with this perspective, we can now look forward to the coming year with anticipation of His miraculous move in all aspects of our lives. In this season of the joy of God’s gift of salvation to us, let us choose to experience His promise in John 10:10b, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Again, a truly blessed and glorious Christmas to all of us!

Jesus the Lamb of God

No doubt, guilt disturbs our entire being and leaves us struggling within.

This inner chaos caused by guilt is even greater when we come to think of our sins against the Holy and Just God. We are haunted by the truth that we can never hide anything from Him. We pierce His heart over and over again. Guilty beyond reasonable doubt. And His Word affirms that the entire humankind is a bunch of guilty rebels who deserve punishment.

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

And what can we do to make amends before the Righteous God? Truth be told, nothing. We have nothing to offer to God that is sufficient to pay the price of all our transgressions. No matter how hard we try, we fail to please God completely. Hence, we are doomed to eternal punishment – everlasting separation from the Loving God. Hopeless and helpless we truly are.

This is where the mystery of divine love enters – out of His abundant mercy, the Almighty sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to become the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT). And because of this, guilt has no more power over us. Reconciliation with God has been made possible. No additional offering necessary.

Hence, at times when guilt tries to bring us down – when the evil one condemns us of our past sins, may we listen to this hope-filled declaration: Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Resurrection and Life

A disease-stricken man whose every day is misery within the confines of the four corners of his hospital room…

A juvenile whose whole energy is spent on booze and drugs…

A multimillionaire whose day-to-day existence revolves around deals and profits and meetings.

How much more shocking are useless lives! They are like dead souls, kept upright and moving by a blood-pumping heart; existing without having really lived at all.

How about you…

Have you really lived? Or are you–

Standing in line, on a long queue for free medicine at the health center for your ailing child, even as every step closer to the front of the line has you more and more worried about where and how and when to get the next prescriptions that would extend that beloved life;

Wandering from street-to-company to street-to-company, resumé in hand, hoping that, after so many heartaches, in the next establishment is that elusive chance to be hired and to prove your worth;

Marching to the sari-sari store, hand on heart, hoping that the store owner, who already holds a long list of your debts, would be willing to let you have another loan of tuyo for your starving kids;

Stuck to your office desk that’s crowded with tall piles of paper work with ominous deadlines, pressured by the ticking of the clock, with the cloud of failure ever over you and living in constant fear of getting fired;

Enjoying the delightful ambience and scrumptious food of a posh restaurant… but lonely and alone… always ever alone….

Do you feel that every ray of hope has dimmed? Hear that soft yet firm voice that says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Has the purpose of your life been crushed? Listen as He says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Do you feel as if your very soul has been sucked out of your body? Comfort your heart with His promise, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

It is that same voice that cried out on that hideous cross, in that cursed ground: “IT IS FINISHED!” What good news! He died that we may have life! With His last breath, He finished paying the penalty of the sin of humanity. He gave His life for ours.

But wait! There’s more! Because here’s where it gets even better: He rose again from the dead! He did not stop at dying on the cross, He rose again and with that, conquered even the grave. And with that, made us all, if only we choose to, conquerors of not only this life but even the life beyond this life. Through Him, if only we accept, we now have eternal life. Why waste His offer of RESURRECTION AND LIFE?

Listen. He is calling your name, rousing your dead soul to life. Will you heed the call?

You will? Then take off your grave clothes and allow Him to breathe His life into you.

From http://www.oddee.com/item_98002.aspx

JESUS IS LORD

However, months or even weeks later, reality sets in – the fad fades, the trend trampled by a new one. So here comes another invitation to walk on a new direction, to follow the crowd. And the cycle goes on and on. And we let ourselves be swayed by this, solely because we want to prove to the world that everything in our life is in control.

Is this how we must really live? With all the ideas that try to dominate our perspective in life, how do we reach the right decision? In such moments of searching for direction, the Word of God speaks to our hearts: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.

The real Lord who leads us in the right path towards experiencing life in its fullness. He is the One who gives meaning to our existence and carries us as we march through our hills and valleys. And this makes following Him as our Lord the best decision we can ever make. For He is neither a fad nor a trend that eventually vanishes into thin air.

Every knee should bow… In total surrender, we see no reason to doubt His sovereign knowledge and loving plans for every aspect of our life.

Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord… Publicly, we declare that we fully entrust our entire being to Him and Him alone.

Hence, in the midst of all options that the world offers, may we wholeheartedly choose to let Him reign over our life and bravely affirm that Jesus Christ is our Lord!

He Is Greater Than Our Biggest Fears

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33)

He could have made it to Jesus and back to the boat. He could have even made it to the shore without the boat! But there in the middle of the waves, fear blinded his ability to see in faith.

There are times in life when we find ourselves on the same page with Peter. One moment triumphantly walking over the trials of life, in another, terrified for who-knows-what-would-come-flying-our-way as we trudge through life.

We are journeying in faith, yes. But our knees still tremble in fear. Probably because we know not what is up ahead us. Most probably because we think too much of what our next step would encounter.

Peter might have thought to himself, “Oh the wind… the wind would invite bigger waves. And bigger waves would cause me to drown! No, I don’t want to drown.”

Fear magnified the insignificant wind and telescoped the greatness of Jesus.

But faith-even faith as small as a mustard seed-IS more than enough to move our mountains of problems and wave loads of troubles. And yet, that same little faith is nothing if we let our biggest fears to drown it.

So when we are faced with our biggest fears, let us call to mind what Jesus said to Peter:

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

With such an enlightening reassurance as that, why should we ever fear? How could we ever fear? If in the middle of the storm, Jesus IS? Jesus CAN?

Take every step to the Great Unknown as you walk on the water with the Calmer of Storms. Outbrave every fear that threatens to drown your heart. Because Jesus is far greater than our biggest fears.

TRIBUTE Message for Dr. Myles Munroe

Also, remember that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

So stand firm in the faith. And be assured that the Living God—and the prayers of the whole Christian world—is backing you up.

Shalom,

BRO. EDDIE C. VILLANUEVA

Spiritual Director and International President

Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide

Undying Hope

It is a reality that certain sites will always invoke certain memories which will, in turn, always squeeze our hearts. No matter how long our loved ones have left us, the time may never come that we would overcome this feeling. There is nothing wrong with missing our loved ones; it is but natural.

What is unnatural and dangerous then, most especially to us who claim to be Christians? It is allowing the enemy to capitalize on our griefs and longings by making us fixated on that aspect of death that highlights our permanent physical separation from our loved ones: that hopelessness.

Hopelessness is not the will of God for us. His will: I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).

One of the best proofs of this is probably the account of the affliction, death and resurrection of Lazarus in John 11. Martha knew in her heart that Jesus had the power to heal her brother but upon his death, she lost all hope. Thus, her poignant words, “Lord… if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). She knew, without a doubt, how much the Lord loved her brother and she could not understand why He had to come after Lazarus had already succumbed to death.

Even as her heart grieved, being a believer, Martha expressed her faith in eternal life “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” But the Lord knew how her grief and longing for her brother could be used to creep in and extinguish that hope. It is in the context of this horror and regret that our Lord Jesus Christ declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

I am the resurrection and the life… Do you believe this? What powerful revelation! If we will only choose to open our spiritual eyes, we will see that this is a promise of God that we can hold on to. Holding to this promise, there is hope in the misery of our afflictions, for there is the promise of peace in the communion with our Creator and Redeemer. Holding to this promise, there is hope in unfulfilled dreams and broken promises, for the fullness of joy is ours in His presence. Holding to this promise, there is hope in the face of death, for there is life after death. Death is not a dead end but merely a door to His glorious throne of blessings.

I am the resurrection and the life… Do you believe this? Belief starts not at death, but here and now, in the life we are living. Sin is our enemy, our accuser, our jailer and our executioner. By ourselves, there is truly no hope. Death becomes the end of that hope, and after that, eternal punishment. But the Apostle Paul assures us: “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” (Romans 6:6-7)

I am the resurrection and the life… Do you believe this? Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross, we now have undying hope. If only we accept Him and truly live our lives in this belief, we can start to live free from the dominion of our sinful nature and the curses that come with it, and begin walking in the blessed righteousness of God. If only we allow His transforming grace to dominate us, we can now begin that glorious journey to know Him truthfully and personally, to love Him passionately and wholeheartedly and to serve Him faithfully, with integrity and excellence, until we stand before Him on Judgment Day.

Brothers and sisters, sin and death cannot take hold of us because our Lord Jesus Christ has overcome them. He is our undying hope for He is the Resurrection and the Life.

All glory and praises to our Almighty God!

DEFENDER OF THE WEAK

  Yet… even as she closed her eyes and readied for the stones to come and slowly kill her, there He stood. He had been writing on the ground with His finger but He straightened and said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And for all those “just accusers,” that was the end of that. Not a stone was thrown; the woman lived.

  Woman, where are they? How many of us, at least at one point in our lives, wished for someone to defend us and pick us up from where we lay prostrate on the floor of misery? We know full well that we did wrong. We know full well what the consequences are. We know full well that we deserve the pain that is coming. But what we would give to have one hand squeeze our shoulder at that moment, one arm wrap around our shoulders just for a little while, one quiet voice to say, “You are not alone.”

  Jesus did more than that. Rather than give His hand to squeeze our shoulder, He gave His hand to be pierced by a nail. Rather than give His arm to wrap around our shoulder, He used it to carry the wretched cross to the site of His crucifixion. Rather than whisper, “You are not alone,” He raised His eyes to the heavens and pled, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” We deserved death in eternal fire and for that, He gave us His life.

  Jesus. He looked down from heaven and instead of seeing a world deserving of punishment, He saw a world filled with people who needed saving. He saw the sick that needed healing. He saw the imprisoned that needed freeing. He saw the weak that needed defending.

  He is your defender. In your weakness, He is your strength. You only need to come to Him.  

  Come.